Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Election Tradition

Our four-year-old did well in his first political debate.

[One hour earlier]
After coming home earlier than usual, the whole family walked the short distance to our voting location to take advantage of our right to vote. We brought the children not just because we are terrible at arranging babysitting, but because we wanted to show them the process and stress the importance we place on voting.

They were so well behaved that they each received multiple "I Voted" stickers from the workers who were smitten by them (can't say that I blame them). I also made them huge paper airplanes from the large sample ballots.

Experience has shown that in order to make experiences memorable with young children, ice cream must be added to the equation. Consequently, we proceeded to Dairy Queen. After they chose whichever dessert they wanted (mini frozen cakes with Halloween candy corns on top), we sat and continued a discussion on the voting process.

Questions: Is political affiliation a product of nature, nurture, or a combination? Are we "born that way" regarding our political positions? To shed light on these questions, I conducted an uncontrolled, biased experiment with my eldest child—which process is likely wrong on many levels. This was his first political debate.

In this friendly family debate, I acted both as moderator and opponent. The questions are presented below (his answers in parentheses):

• Do you think it's good to go to another country to get into fights with people? (No, we should be nice.)
• What if they are being mean to someone else? (We need to protect them if we can.)
• What would you do if you became very sick? (You would take me to the doctor.)
• What should some other child do if they were sick without a doctor? (We should help them get a good doctor.)
• Doctors can cost lots of money; what if their family didn't have enough money to pay? (We should help them pay.)
• So, then, do you think it's good to help others who don't have as much money/means as we do? (Yes. We need to help each other.)

After this, he turned the tables and systematically asked us our opinions on the same questions. He may have a future in debate (or politics?).

This budding tradition teaches me that children, even small children, can take an interest in matters that are important to their parents. Furthermore, simple, honest answers can help parents see 1) how precious their children are, and 2) that the future really is in their hands.

With the future in their hands, I think it's a great honor to teach them in love—with occasional indulgences of ice cream to solidify traditions.

1 thought:

Jason said...

clark, you're filling your child's head with liberal propaganda! :)